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Patong vendors still fear their jobs will soon be gone

Phuket People Fear Jobs Will Go

Friday, August 1, 2014
PHUKET: Vendors who have been working along Patong beach since sunbeds and umbrellas were banned entirely on Phuket are likely to lose their jobs any day now, a meeting heard yesterday.

A separate source says that jet-skis at Patong are now being forced to anchor in the water because of the ban on commercial activities on the public beaches.

About 300 people among those whose jobs are threatened attended a seminar at Prince of Songkhla University to try to put together a comprehensive document to submit directly to Thailand's governing National Peace and Order Council.

With the effects of change being felt across Phuket and beach businesses in crisis, people are bypassing the traditional administration to talk directly to the military.

The seminar at the university - called by the ''Phuket People'' group - questioned why more hasn't been done to warn the people that change was coming, and that the jobs they had been doing for years were likely to disappear.

They also pointed out that some resorts appeared to have been built on public space, naming Club Med at Kata, the Centara Grand at Karon and the Novotel at Kamala.

Representatives from the umbrella group, the longtail group, the restaurant group and the jet-ski group were at the seminar, with others.

With the Royal Thai Navy and the Kathu District office represented, many in the audience questioned why nobody was there representing Phuket Provincial Hall.

Speaker after speaker made the point that the dramatic change had come about without warning.

''We had jobs one day and the next we were without a job, even though we have worked on the beaches for years,'' one speaker said.

Most people accepted that working on the beaches was illegal, but that the work was honest and not a criminal activity and that the people involved should be treated better.

With the university, noted for its studies of tourism and hospitality, the groups who met yesterday aim to prepare a research document so that the side effects of the clearances of Phuket's beaches can be submitted directly to the generals.

As well as asking ''Where is the Governor?'' people also said that some vendors thrown out of work were the sole breadwinners for families with three or four children.

''If our future is not on the beaches, we need time to adjust,'' one speaker said from the audience.

''We think it would be only fair if, having been deprived of our livelihoods, the NCPO subsidises us over the next few months while we adjust to this enormous change and find new work.''

The university and Phuket People aim to hold a detailed focus group gathering on August 10 to prepare a document to be handed directly to the NCPO.

It's understood that among several previous pressing engagements the governor had yesterday was a rehearsal for a catwalk modelling session over the coming holiday weekend.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Come without warning ?? How many years ago now did they tell the jetskis they would be phased out..

They have been telling them for years, but no one listened.

Posted by LivinLOS on August 1, 2014 13:07

Editor Comment:

Not in the wildest dreams of the most optimistic people was there the notion of the sunbeds and the vendors being forced off the beaches, LivinLOS.


Having known all along that the jobs they were doing were illegal to begin with and they most probably didn't pay any taxes from their income for many years, the attitude of asking now for additional pocket money to adjust is quite a request to make. Let's see if there will be any compromise on that.

Posted by Jakub P. on August 1, 2014 13:35


You make a living illegaly for years and expects to be "subsidised" when the authorities finally clamp down? Also, how you claim to be honest and not a criminal while at the same time admitting making a living illegaly? Are these people for real? It's like they don't see the insanity in what they themselves are saying.
I have an idea, first be backtaxed for all those years of profiting from a public space, probably earning far more than most people in Thailand. Secondly there are thousands of jobs for low skilled workers like these vendors in Phuket, so don't worry about being unemployed.

Posted by christian on August 1, 2014 13:39

Editor Comment:

Tolerance is a feature of life in Thailand, christian. The difference has been explained by people believing that because the beaches are public, they can use them as they wish. This is a 35-year problem, fixed dramatically overnight. A little tolerance seems reasonable.


A separate source says that jet-skis at Patong are now being forced to anchor in the water because of the ban on commercial activities on the public beaches.


Does it mean they stop to parade on their trailedr celebrating in the morning and late afternoon bringing / taking back of jet ski shuttles?

Posted by Sue on August 1, 2014 13:48

Editor Comment:

That much has yet to be determined.


Thousands of thai people, from all over thailand, live illigal, work illigal in Phuket.Not registrated, work and not pay taxes. That is a fact. So, all these illigal workers complaining now to loose illigal jobs should count their blessings, They had many good 'illigal' years! They should leave now, go home and work there legally and pay taxes. The Phuket government administration is to blame for the fact that it came this far. Check the history on jet skies, 1 governor was abandon them, the next governor recalled it. What goverment behavier was/is that? Let us hope that NOT local phuket authorities ( with or without universities) go to have any further say in this. The NCPO is in charge now, NCPO should rule clear and firm! Is NCPO able? We see again tuktuks everywhere parking at road side where not even a normal car is allowed to stand still! NCPO, please, act!

Posted by Kurt on August 1, 2014 14:25


Doing something illigal is not "non criminal". The government who allowed such is also in "heavy waters" and should be screened by NCPO. It is the time now for that! Fire corrupt and incompetent government workers, replace them quick! The people are waiting for that.

Posted by kurt on August 1, 2014 14:58


Club med was built on public land there used to be a school there, if i remember rightly the owners of club med built the new school up the hill, for agreeing to lease the land. This will be interesting to follow

Posted by Michael on August 1, 2014 15:23


This afternoon a little walk on the beach in patong, not 5 minutes rest of the sellers. Except no chairs and umbrellas, the beach is the same as before.
And on the beach road, a lot of tuk tuks parked in the no parking zone. If a supervisory (Solders) is not consistently present, the beach will never be different

Posted by erich on August 1, 2014 15:26


Yes, they were earning money from working in a public space so they can't complain. But, I do feel sorry for the majority of these guys and gals who were honest and providing a service that some people enjoyed.

This is despite many years ago myself and my wife going on to Kata Beach with a towel and not using the sunbeds. One young lad pretty much threatened us that we had to use a sunbed or get off the beach. The minority I am not bothered about.

Posted by Jamie on August 1, 2014 16:11


In exporting activities it is common that new regulations in the destination countries force the exporters to stop their business and find new ways, new products. Huge amounts of capital and work may have been invested over the years. These beach abusers are lucky that many jobs or products can be found in replacement, such as rent of mats, sale of food and refreshments from light vehicles etc : more businesses and smaller instead of a concentration of few restaurants and sunbed providers

Posted by Free Beach on August 1, 2014 16:23


I can feel a huge pile of appeasement coming up soon then we'll be back to the old style of the tail wagging the dog again,poor them the hard done to jet ski operators and their beach cronies. The provinces will have lots of work for the majority of these unskilled beach people that on the most part are from the mainland south there seems to be very little sympathy for these people on the most part or their predicament when the most of them see themselves to be above the law or making a contribution to the greater good or the image of phuket

Posted by Scunner on August 1, 2014 16:35


Ah well...for us, and many cashed up tourists like us, our days of bringing money into the Phuket economy are over....I hope the enviro tourists flock to Surin but I doubt it...will be very tough for the local economy to adjust. For those looking for a post Surin tear down location, it was a great 9 years, but Bali we're coming back!

Posted by Brad on August 1, 2014 18:30


In respect to the issue of the vendors paying tax, the majority would not have been subject to taxes because they were below the taxable thresholds on personal income. Taxes would have been collected via the VAT on the goods they purchased for resale. The people who have the tax issue are the small group who own the sun beds, jet skis and operated the larger restaurants. This group in turn rented out concessions to the individual vendors. A small number of well connected people controlled everything and profited. Everyone else scraped by. The fact that the jet skis are still operating speaks volumes as to the political connections of that group. It's time to go after the big fish.

Posted by Ryan on August 1, 2014 19:50


According to the tax law, everybody with an income must register with tax and get an tax id. If you operate your own business, then you will need a permission to operate the kind of business you operate, and this permit must be visible where you operate...if you work for yourself, your own business, then you are taxable of your net profits, in order to have net profits you have to proof your expenses and the chance of any of the people working at the beach ever paid a satang in tax is close to zero, and that goes for most small businesses in Thailand...they simple don't report the real numbers to tax , pay nothing and they can get away with it because the control is not there (try to ask for a proper receipt at a massage parlour or small restaurant and they will look at you as if you were from another planet). Bigger entities , hotels, industries etc can't get away with this and pay their taxes....there are plenty of jobs in Phuket, also in the hospitality business, but the vendors etc from the beach are not likely to take those jobs as they would have a lot less salary, pay taxes and probably also work more hours,

Posted by Sailor on August 1, 2014 21:59


Brad comments: Ah well...for us, and many cashed up tourists like us, our days of bringing money into the Phuket economy are over....I hope the enviro tourists flock to Surin but I doubt it...will be very tough for the local economy to adjust. For those looking for a post Surin tear down location, it was a great 9 years, but Bali we're coming back!"

Brilliant! Oh my, if I can't have a lounger and a beer with an umbrella on the beach, I'm going to Bali! I'm sure I won't miss you here in Phuket with your "cashed up" arrogant attitude. And I hope you have a nice stay in Bali. I hear it's just lovely these days! Cheers! I've had a house here for over 9 years and I love that the beaches have been cleared of all the illegal construction and profiteering that took over this island after the tsunami. Good riddance to you and your type???

Posted by Jim McGowan on August 2, 2014 01:13



Can you please name a swimming beaches on Bali, except those few with artificial reef like at St.Regis?

Bali is anything but not a beach destination, unlike Phuket.

Posted by Sue on August 2, 2014 06:41


+1 Sailor. 100 percent agree.

Posted by GianyFan on August 2, 2014 08:43


This is more excellent news - illegal workers who pay no taxes and do not conform to food safety standards will have to stop their practices.

Hopefully the tourists will now spend their money with legitimate businesses who employ locals, pay taxes and have all the proper alcohol and food licenses. Why should illegal workers have the right to destroy legitimate business ?

Good riddance to them all ! As other posters have stated, there are plenty of jobs advertised if they want to apply for them !

Posted by Amazing Thailand on August 2, 2014 08:58


Goodbye Brad, or should i say good riddance. With an attitude like that, Phuket doesn't need you.

Posted by phuket madness on August 2, 2014 09:46


Seriously people, stop attacking feedback. I am not arrogant, I have never sat on the beach on a bed and umbrella drinking a beer....I'll leave that for the Patong crowd. All I'm saying is that I enjoyed what Surin was as many did. I enjoy the Villa's we hired, I love the local people and their hospitality, and I loved heading down to the beach of an evening to enjoy dinner and drinks. I have been an active promoter to many fiends for years. And I know with the money we spent on our holidays, we provided good support to the local economy......if you want to clean up Phuket, Patong and the seedy goings on there would be a much better place to start!

With regard to Bali, I did include a link in my original post but the 'Ed' deleted it which is fine, why allow competitive promotion on this site, no issue from me. But Bali has plenty to offer, many beautiful beaches, great hospitality and lovely people. If what I was after was a beautiful beach I would stay in Australia....we have a few of those you know.

What Surin and before that Kamala (for us)offered was far far more, but sounds like that is in the past. I don't wish harm on Phuket, all I'm saying is that the future won't offer what I'm prepared to pay for. Corruption should be stamped out for sure, but be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water!

I hope it works out for you all, I'm just not sure that beaches like Surin needed this much fixing....fine the West side but the East too......ah well.

Posted by Brad on August 3, 2014 15:04

Editor Comment:

Links are deleted unless they're in the shortened version because they distorted our pages.


Is Phuket beach business in crisis? Unemployment is very low on Phuket. The resorts are always looking for people. Whenever they have a job fair no one shows up. It isn't hard to find a job here.

Posted by Kamalala on August 6, 2014 12:07


Um dad, what is the man holding in his hand that the lady wants? His er, oopsy, go and do your homework please.
Thanks for the laugh PW.

Posted by Annon Kid on August 6, 2014 14:23


Kamalala wrote"Is Phuket beach business in crisis? Unemployment is very low on Phuket. The resorts are always looking for people. Whenever they have a job fair no one shows up. It isn't hard to find a job here"

Well give it 6 months for the word to pass around that tourists are no longer able to sit on the beach in a lounger under an umbrella and they will be staying away in droves - except of course the eastern Europeans who don't spend any money on these or anything else around the place. The unemployment will soon start to rise along with vacancies in the resorts - Club Med included !!

Posted by Chris on August 6, 2014 15:42

Thursday December 9, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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